The top Turkish League of Legends competition is following in the footsteps of its North American, European and Chinese counterparts. The Turkish Champions League has decided to go the route of franchising. Beginning in 2019, the TCL will drop the old promotion/relegation model in favor of a more permanent solution. The announcement was made on the official Turkish League of Legends site, and it comes on the heels of the European LCS announcing a similar initiative back in March.
What is franchising?
Under franchising, the league is reset and all of the current teams lose their spots. Those teams, along with any other interested parties, must then submit a bid and make a case for why they deserve a position in the new league. The teams that are chosen at the end of the selection process will receive fixed positions in the restructured league; they will no longer be in danger of relegation.
Implemented first by the LPL in China, franchising brings a more solid structure to pro League of Legends. The owners who are investing in the league are offered security and the fans are offered a more consistent experience. While Riot Games will reassess the league every three years and teams may possibly be expelled for not meeting the league’s standards, the new model offers far more certainty than the old structure, where teams were at risk of losing their spot twice a year.
The Academy League
The old promotion tournament has been replaced by a new Academy League. Each team will receive a slot in the academy to maintain a minor league roster. This will grant teams a more complete developmental structure.
Although we have a large youth population and a number of players in the region, it is a fact that League of Legends has a narrow pool of professional players. Teams can’t play young and inexperienced players in an environment where every loss raises the risk of falling out of the league, and there isn’t a place for young players to gain experience. As a solution to this issue, we are designing an Academy League. We want a structure in which every team will have a roster of 5 to 10 players, and those who have poor performances can be moved down to the Academy team. As a result, there’s real competition between players on the same team that can be seen in all the branches of the sport, where both the team success and the player quality are positively affected.
– Translated from LoL Turkey press release
Bringing franchising to the TCL
The TCL’s inaugural season under the new structure will feature 10 teams. All teams will be required to pay a buy-in fee and go through a very comprehensive screening and application process. Applications to secure a franchise slot will open on June 20 and run through August 20 of this year. The teams that pass the first stage of the selection process will then be called in for face-to-face interviews. These meetings will take place from September 15 to October 15. The final selections will be made on November 15, 2018, when the contracts will ultimately be signed.
This news will surely come as a blessing for team owners and players alike. Teams under the old system couldn’t afford to give significant playing time to players that had potential but lacked experience. If you lost too many games, you lost your spot. The new league allows teams the security to plan for the long term without the fear of being relegated. Furthermore, the Turkish league promises bigger prize pools and better sources of income for owners in the new system. This will only sweeten the pot further and make spaces in the new league that much more attractive.
It remains to be seen how many old teams will retain their spots and how many new teams will move in. One thing is for certain, however; there will be a ton of competition to get there.